Tuesday 25 March 2014

Baa Baa Blackwork Sheep

I love blackwork, the designs are strict and regimented yet it is somehow amazingly versatile. Cross-stitch uses variations of a cross and backstich, so the stitch type is quite uniform but defined by colour. Embroidery uses an almost unlimited number of stitches as well as colour to create different effects. Blackwork uses very few colours; traditional blackwork uses black and gold although I have seen some beautiful coloured designs. It only uses backstitches. They are used to form different patterns which depict different areas of a design. A single thread used in blackwork can make a delicate and intricate design, thicker stitches over a large area can create a fun and bold design. A different number of threads can be used to build up areas of shading with thicker thread looking darker. Blackwork is very unforgiving because the pattern is repeated so any mistake is noticeable. I also find it helps to plan out how to stitch a pattern beforehand; consistency will give a better tension so the order in which you stitch can effect how a pattern looks.

I found a fun pattern to use for my mum's card. It is a simple but effective pattern and plays on the rhyme 'Baa baa black sheep'. My Mum taught me to sew so this seems like a good idea and as my sister is very good at cross stitch I wanted something different. I chose to use a 14 count aida for the fabric as I wanted a "chunky" effect. I think that patterns with a lot of cross stitch lend themselves to thick thread, though I am sure there are exceptions to this rule. I chose to use 2 threads for the backstitch and 3 for the cross stitch and I gave a good close block on the head. I think the design could be altered to give a "Fair Isle" effect but I have yet to try that. The other thing I do without fail is underestimate the time that it will take to do a border. I know I do this and yet I fail to correct it every time!It is far more stitching than it looks so give yourself lots of time.

The pattern was really clear and easy to follow, it was enjoyable to do and it bought a smile to Mum's face.

Finished design

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